FCC Lines Up Panelists For First Of 18 Broadband Workshops

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The FCC has lined up its participants for the first of many staff workshops on the national broadband deployment plan currently on the drafting board.

There are 18 workshops planned for August and early September, designed to put staffers together with stakeholders and the public to brainstorm on the many and varied issues implicated in the plan, which must be to Congress by Feb. 17, 2010.

FCC staffers for the first workshop, which is on Civic Engagement and e.Government, will be Eugene Huang, moderator; Steve Van Roekel, Kirsten Kane, and Mary Beth Richards.

Government participants from outside the agency: U.S. Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra (advice and lessons learned from "IT Dashboard" and Apps for Democracy initiatves and his take on cloud computing); former Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard (how his city used broadband); and Beth Novek, U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Open Government (civic engagement via new tech, including "collaboratvie platforms.").

Scheduled to participate from the non-profit sector:  Norm Ornstsein of the American Enterprise Institute (talking about the effect of broadband on campaigns and elections), Andrew Reseij of the Personal Democracy Forum (broadband and Democracy), and and Ellen Goodman of Rutgers Law School (civic engagement through public media).

The first two panels will be 45 minutes apiece, followed by a 25-minute open mike session with suggestions from the audience.

The workshops are similar in form to ones held by the National Telecommunications & Information Administration on its just-launched, and soon-to-close bidding process for the first $4 billion of %7.2 billion in broadband rollout grants/loans from NTIA and the Agriculture Department.

The FCC's national broadband rollout plan is seen as a longer-view approach to getting broadband to unserved and underserved communities, while the $7.2 billion in funds is a more near-term boost as part of the economic stimulus package.

The FCC is playing a government advisory role in both.